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García Meza, Luis (1932–)

García Meza, Luis (1932–)

Luis García Meza is a Bolivian army officer who served briefly as head of government by military coup. García Meza was born in La Paz on August 8, 1932. Active in a series of military interventions between 1971 and 1979, he led a coup in July 1980 that deposed the civilian president, Lidia Gueiler. During his year-long rule, a bloody repression of political opponents was orchestrated by the Nazi fugitive Klaus Barbie and García Meza's comrade-in-arms, Colonel Luis Arce Gómez; the public treasury was opened to pillage, and cocaine trafficking benefited from thinly veiled government support. García Meza's downfall, in a countercoup, set the stage for a subsequent quarter-century of democratic rule in Bolivia. A succession of those governments prosecuted this former general and his chief henchmen. Convicted in absentia in 1993, García Meza was located in and extradited from Brazil in 1994. He is serving a thirty-year term in a maximum-security prison near La Paz for crimes against Bolivian individuals and against the state.

See alsoGueiler Tejada, Lidia; Nazis.


Kohl, Benjamin H., and Linda C. Farthing. Impasse in Bolivia: Neoliberal Hegemony and Popular Resistance. London and New York: Zed Books, 2006.

Navarro Miranda, César. Luis García Meza, una pesadilla en nuestra historia. Llallagua, Potosí Bolivia: Universidad Nacional Siglo XX, 2002.

                                            David Block

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